Reason and Understanding Can Only Exist in the MIddle: I suppose that is why reason and understanding rarely exist


           I was at a bar years ago and I ended up conversing with the bartender and a gentleman sitting at the bar. They were both quite a bit older than me and I could tell by the way they were talking that they were friends beyond the bar. I forget what we started talking about, but the conversation eventually ended up with them talking about the problems of the world, and of course, they had a solution and of course, the solution was the world running the way they thought was right. The conversation bordered on political at times, but everyone who has ever hung out at a bar knows that the cardinal rule is that you don’t discuss politics or religion. Those topics are already volatile enough, but pour some alcohol on it and it is almost a guaranteed argument or fight. 

           We continued to talk and the condition of the country came up. Both were clearly hardcore conservatives and so of course they were complaining about the liberals and so on. I brought up the point that if things were more in the middle, politically, in this country there wouldn’t be these constant shifts that are always followed by the inevitable backlash. The bartender agreed with me and I said that it’s unfortunate that the middle never really exists. What he said afterward kind of blew my mind. He said that he believed that the middle only ever existed when JFK was president. I wasn’t alive then, but it seemed like JFK was striving for the middle more than his predecessors, but the middle definitely did not exist then. The civil rights movement was going on, which means that people in this country were still fighting to be treated equally, women still weren’t equal to men, homosexuals had to pretend to be straight, etc…. As a heterosexual male, I couldn’t even imagine growing up in a world that was predominately homosexual, and being heterosexual was considered to be so shameful that I had to marry a man just to fit into society. I can’t even imagine how miserable having to hide like that would be. Then again, I couldn’t imagine being hated for the color of my skin no matter how good of a person I was, or for my life to be severely limited because I had a vagina. BUT those were the good old days when America was great. 

           Anyway, the bartender seemed to believe that the middle did exist in this country in 60’s and that was rather alarming to me. It made me wonder what his definition of the middle was. He didn’t seem like a bad person, but he seemed very out of touch when it came to anything other than himself. He struck me as the type of person that had grown up very privileged. He made it a point to make it known that he was the president of some golf club or association and also made several comments that made it clear that he had never been without money and if you have grown up with more advantages than others then the world will most likely seem much more pleasant and just to you. You can’t blame a rich kid for being spoiled because they are molded by the only life they have ever known and you also can’t blame a kid raised in poverty for wanting a better life and being willing to do whatever it takes to get there. I am not saying that if someone robbed me I would just be like, “oh well, they must have grown up with nothing and they need it more than me.” Fuck that, I would be pissed, but many people steal because of their situation, and some just like to steal because it’s easier and more lucrative than a minimum-wage job. I am also not saying that people with money should feel guilty or should give everything they have away. Make as much money as you possibly can, but don’t gauge your level of success in life or as a person solely off on how much you are worth or how much you own. I have met way too many doctors, lawyers, and businessmen who think they are better than others because of their jobs and bank accounts. Guess what? That doesn’t mean shit. If you suck it doesn’t matter what you do for a living. An asshole with or without money is an asshole nonetheless. 

           I think the 80’s movie Trading Places was a very great concept. A wealthy white man traded places with a poor black man and it showed how our situation dictates our behavior. The white man, after becoming poor, took to crime to survive and the black man acted very civilized when he didn’t have to commit crimes to survive. There are good and bad people of every race, every religion, every financial situation, etc… Money or lack of money doesn’t make a person good or bad in their heart. 

           There was a time when children were to be seen and not heard. Self-expression was discouraged and therapy was for crazy people. Life was undeniably a lot tougher years ago and people had to be tougher, but once life could be about more than mere survival people were able to focus on other things, like themselves. When people aren’t able to have a voice they become bitter and resentful; as I said before, emotions don’t just go away on their own. They manifest themselves in our lives one way or another whether we want to acknowledge them or not. Then things started to change and people could express their feelings openly without too much judgment or criticism. Now we are at a point where too many people think that the world runs on their feelings and they fall apart with the slightest inconvenience. You have to be careful about everything you say because almost everything is offensive to someone somewhere. The pendulum has swung from one extreme to another, yet again. It went from no one being able to talk about anything when it came to how they felt to people never shutting the fuck up about how they feel. Facing adversity and how we deal with it builds character. I know that a parent never wants their children to suffer, but if you shield them from everything and give them the idea that melting down every time things don’t go their way then you are doing them a disservice. You might be able to cultivate that kind of environment in your home, but the outside world is not going to change because your child is dissatisfied with something. I don’t think that everyone needs to be as hard as nails. Self-expression is extremely important. Nobody should have to bottle everything up because showing emotion is considered to be a weakness, but I don’t think that whining and crying about every little thing and falling apart at the slightest inconvenience, as a way of life, should be encouraged. 

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